ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. - The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has granted St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) $150,000 to support the expansion of the Center for the Study of Democracy's international program and the strengthening of the Democracy Studies minor. The funds will be used over the next three years.
According to the College, the grant will fund a program enhances the international and democratic studies curriculum. First, the Center for the Study of Democracy will implement a series of year-long international symposiums that will build upon the existing student exchange program by focusing on the politics, history and culture of a different region each year. The first year's focus will be on Latin America. Second, the funding will go towards developing courses for the newly established minor in Democracy Studies.
These symposiums will feature speakers and panels comprising of journalists, students, and others. Artists-in-residence will work directly with students and give public lectures on their craft. Year-long festivals will exhibit various aspects of the arts and culture of the selected countries. Academic courses will also be developed to revolve around the chosen regions.
St. Mary's will additionally use the funding to augment the Democracy Studies minor. Faculty will be provided to teach the core course, as well as develop new courses that support the program of study. The primary goal of the Democracy Studies Minor is to provide students with a deeper understanding of how democracies are established, instituted and improved.
The Mellon Foundation has previously granted funds to the College. A planning grant in 2000 helped SMCM reconstruct and focus the international program. In 2003 it provided the Center for the Study of Democracy with a three-year grant to conduct student exchanges between St. Mary's College of Maryland and the developing democratic countries of Senegal, The Gambia, Brazil, and Thailand. Since the implementation of the student exchange program, study outside the United States has increased from 21% to 40%. Furthermore, this year St. Mary's College was recognized as one of the top 25 liberal arts colleges whose alumni serve in the Peace Corps.